What Doesn’t Work

by Mike Powers

Do any of you reading these words own a business? Or do you, perhaps hire people from time to time to do work around your home? Any of you who do will probably easily understand what I’m about to talk about. I’m tired of people who don’t do their job continuing to draw a paycheck. And you better pay attention, because the check they’re drawing is coming straight out of your pocket.

A few days ago, two high-level trustees and a civilian supervisor came into the wing where I’m housed. They were here to exterminate for bugs. This is the third time I’ve seen them since I got to this unit. They opened all the cell doors, and the inmate trustees went from one cell to the next spraying their spray along the floors and walls. Then history repeated itself. Not the history you’re probably thinking of where a bunch of dead bugs have to be swept up over the next couple of days. Nope. Instead, the history goes like this: The night after the bug sprayers come, I’m likely to see several roaches scurrying across my floor or wall before I go to sleep and after I wake up in the morning. What they do while I’m asleep is too disturbing to contemplate. And they won’t be dead the next day either.

So, my question is, “Why?” Why does this free world civilian get paid to do what he does? He has a job, and I assume his job is to escort these trustees from unit to unit where they spray their spray and walk away. They climb in their truck or van or whatever they’re riding in, and they go on to the next unit and do their thing. But if the “job” is to kill bugs, yet none of the bugs are dying, then why is this man getting paid a single, dadburn penny? Why are you, the taxpayers of Texas, giving this man a paycheck month after month to drive around in a van using up gas you pay for to move around inmates spraying spray you pay for, if all of their combined efforts don’t produce one, single, dead cockroach? Why?

As I was watching the roaches scurry about the day after their last spraying, I couldn’t help but contemplate the sheer lunacy of it, but as I did, I realized that the Texas State Prison Industrial Complex is fleecing you all in so many ways, and the average citizen is woefully uninformed about it- NOT because you aren’t up on current events or don’t make an effort to stay informed about what’s happening in your communities. It’s because no one is telling you what’s going on in here! This kind of stuff ought to be splashed across the pages of Texas Monthly or the Houston Chronicle, but the reporters can’t even find out about it, because the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is the most opaque institution on the planet. Seriously, I believe it would be easier to get information about North Korea’s secret nuclear mountain facilities than get the truth about these prisons in front of a Texas Legislative Committee where it belongs. Or is it?

The other possibility is that the people we’ve sent to Austin to watch over the state institutions and guard the pocketbooks of us commoners KNOW about stuff like people who get paid to kill cockroaches but never do, and they simply don’t do anything about it. Too farfetched, you say? Come on, people. You’ve read these stories, and I believe you know the truth. You remember Warden Beard and his $30,000 worth of stolen food. You remember how they caught him red-handed and let him walk away with full retirement. You remember all the new Hep-C drugs that mysteriously disappeared from the Darrington Unit causing delayed treatment of dozens of men fighting for their lives. Dozens of men at EIGHTY THOUSAND DOLLARS per man, and, POOF! the drugs vanish into thin air. What you DON’T remember is reading about these things in the newspaper. It wasn’t in there. These dirtbags got away with grand larceny, but who cares? As long as the pols in Austin can keep selling you the law and order bill of goods, they’ve been running on for the last twenty years.

Guards that sleep through their nightly shifts. Factory supervisors that haven’t met their production quotas in months or even years. Teachers that have students that have been at the same reading level for their whole sentence. And exterminators who can’t kill one stupid bug. How long would any of them last working for me in the free world? Not one hour, I promise you. I’d give them $20 for their Uber fare home and send them packing. Why the $20? As a lesson to be more careful next time I hire someone!

Now it’s your turn. You’ve hired these people through a little process we here in the U.S. of A. call an “election”. They were hired to do a job, and part of that job is institutional supervision, and the job is NOT getting done. Now, maybe you’re not all hard and crusty like me. Maybe you’re more of a marshmallow-type person, all sweet and mushy. That’s cool. How about at least a little prod? A letter to your congressman or local newspaper wanting to know why no one is telling the truth about what happens in prisons? At the very least, we ought to have good journalists asking questions.

Long-time readers know that I’m an arch-conservative, not some whiny liberal with an axe to grind. (Not to be confused with my good non-whiny axe-grinding liberal readers.) I don’t care if you vote GOP or, uh... Donkey in the next election, but vote DIFFERENT. Tell Austin you’re tired of our own do-nothing congress right here in our backyard. Tell your elected state officials you’re sick and tired
of paying people who don’t want to work, and if they don’t want to do anything about it, you can fire THEM while you’re at it. Why? Because, blast all, if you’ve paid for some guy to drive around all the time killing cockroaches, there ought to be same dead bugs lying around somewhere.

The Attorneys
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez